Jared Padalecki on That ‘Walker’ Finale, Cordi & Geri, 13-Episode Seasons, and More

Odette Annable and Jared Padalecki in 'Walker'
Spoiler Alert
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[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Walker‘s Season 3 finale, “It’s a Nice Day for a Ranger Wedding.” So if you haven’t watched yet, maybe re-examine your life choices.]

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here together to celebrate this thing called Walker. Because not only was the show renewed two days ago, but it also wrapped up Season 3 with a big ol’ wedding and a ton of loose ends that will be requiring attention. Such as a possible serial killer coming for our heroes — including tonight’s happy groom Captain James (Coby Bell) — and the ongoing weirdness between clearly crushing Rangers Trey (Jeff Pierre) and Cassie (Ashley Reyes), who stunned pretty much all of Austin by slaying a wedding duet with Cap’s bride, Kelly (Kearran Giovanni).

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And speaking of stunning, there was also a bonkers twist that saw Cordi’s daughter Stella (Violet Brinson) seemingly blow away that kid Witt after he attacked her and Sadie (Saylor Bell), as well as something we never imagined we’d see: A happy Cordi (Jared Padalecki) finally realizing that he needed to let down his walls and welcome Geri (Odette Annable) into his life on a more permanent basis. These two, I swear.

So, as we love to do here at TV Insider, we chatted up JarPad about ending the season without knowing if they were coming back, watching his on-screen kids grow up, and who should play this new baddie they hinted at in the finale. Enjoy!

Ok, first off…congratulations. You got renewed! And you’re lucky, because if you gave us this finale and then left us hanging, you were gonna be in so much trouble.

Jared Padalecki: No s**t, right? I was like, “Can we just write the season to figure out what happened? We don’t have to film it, but if you don’t mind just writing it?” [Laughs]

Obviously it sucks that it’s only 13 episodes, but I also like that idea because that gives you a lot more time to prep story and streamline it.

You know, Jensen [Ackles] and I asked for 13-episode seasons of Supernatural, many, many, many times. As a matter of fact, I feel like if we had done 13-episode seasons of Supernatural, we’d probably still be doing Supernatural right now. Because it’s hard to do a long network season while also trying to be a husband and a father and friend.

I think Jim Beaver at one of our Comic-Con panels said about 22 or 23-episode seasons, “You know, even if it’s the best batter on the planet, if Ted Williams goes to bat 23 times, he’s gonna strike out a few times.” And so I think a shortened season would just be a really strong, action-packed, story-packed season where we don’t have to do an episode like “Bugs” in Season 1 of Supernatural. [Laughs]

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How did the cast hear?

I kind of told them yesterday, I talked to Brad Schwartz [the new CW president] and they totally tricked me. I was doing hyperbaric chamber stuff…after my TBI last year, I try to get hyperbaric [therapy] when I can for brain health and I got out to all these missed messages, like “Hey, we need to do some press for the finale,” and “Hey, will you call into The CW because they have some reporters that want to do this.” And I was like, “Oh, s**t, sorry! On it!”

So I called in and Brad answers like, “Hey, bud… so I just wanted to touch base with you.” And he went on for a few minutes about how I need to do some interviews since the writers are on strike and can’t do them. And I was like “Sure thing,” I was ready. Then finally, he goes, “Well in that case, we are also excited to bring Walker back for Season 4.” I was so totally not expecting that conversation, right? I was in the head space of like, “Okayyyyy, now…what was the finale about again?” [Laughs]

And it’s so nice because we had a little tradition on Supernatural and now on Walker, at the end of the season, where they’d let me give the news. And I had asked Brad many months ago, we had chatted and I asked, “Hey, if it’s good news or bad news, can I be the one to break it to my cast and crew?” Obviously I hoped it would be good news, but even if it was bad news, you know, I’m the face they see every day at work and I’d love to be the one to just tell them thank you. So they’re all thrilled.

Now…did you make any calls to Justin Johnson Cortez? Because he turned up in this finale and that would be awesome to see him again. What he brings into this episode launches a whole new Jackal storyline.

Oh yeah, big time. I would love to see him come back. And yeah, you know, we have this cold case where it’s something that really drove Captain James to the brink back when we originally dealt with it and never felt we’d solved it…and maybe we haven’t. And how does that connect with Witt and our Park Ranger, who is a little more than fishy?

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And I gotta tell you, the kids are growing up so nicely. Violet is so good. 

She’s so good. Yeah. And we knew that from the get-go. I think some of the early themes in Season 1 where she’s kind of rebelling a little bit, we would shoot her and after we wrapped, I’d get on the phone with Anna [Fricke, the showrunner] and be like, “Holy shit, this young lady, she’s got something.” It’s a joy to work with her… and Kale Culley is growing up and becoming like, Jared Padalecki, Season 1 of Gilmore Girls. [Laughs] It’s uncanny and he’s such a strong performer, too.

Their scene in the finale where she comes in to support him after Cordi tells him to defer his military plans, I was struck by how well they carry their own scenes. The adults could literally take an episode off and they could carry it.

I like the way you’re thinking. I’m gonna talk to writers. Tell them you said that and that I could have an episode off. [Laughs]

There you go. Now when did we find out about Ashley Reyes’ singing?

Uh, how amazing is that? What, and Kearran? So we knew Ashley could sing, she’d gone to [the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art] out in the UK and she’s like a triple, quadruple threat, whatever you’d call it. She sings, she dances, she acts. She’s funny. She’s dramatic. She’s a home run for sure. She and Kearran…that was a lot of fun. I found myself breaking into Jared sometimes when we were shooting. I was like, “These girls are amazing, right?” [Laughs]

It also felt like, if this show had not been picked up, what a great episode to have as one of your last? It’s just a huge party, there’s all this love, you’re sending off Bonham and Abby to their Italian honeymoon. It was a really joyful episode…aside from the serial killer stuff.

[Laughs] So true! Yeah, fair enough!

Now, the way this season ends is very interesting, because Augie went to grandpa first with the military stuff and then Stella calls in Liam (Keegan Allen) to help with a dead body. How’s Cordi gonna feel about this? And also, how bad is gonna be for Liam holding this secret?

Well, as you know I did a show for 15 years about brothers who had a complicated relationship, you know, who would do anything for each other but also kind of upset each other and crossed boundaries for so long. And I love those stories. So it definitely makes sense that Walker, especially on the night that he decides to do something for himself — he asks Geri to move in for the summer and he’s not really the type to do something for himself like that, he’s not the “I’m gonna take a me day,” right? So he invites Geri in and now he’s about to find out not only did his son tell him earlier that he went to gramps to ask about enlisting, but that his daughter witnessed what might be a murder, but was certainly an attack — something that Walker would deal with in his line of work — and she went to his brother instead. Uh, so yeah, I don’t think he’s gonna be super thrilled about it. [Laughs]

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Thank God he’s got Geri to talk him down from the ledge though.

Yeah, yeah. Put him in his place, talk him down.

I love that she danced down the aisle with the kids. Not only is Odette always fantastic, but that just showed how Geri is truly family now.

For sure, and there’s also something I’ve liked since our first scene together in Season 1. I knew Odette vaguely, you know, I think we had met two or three times at random Comic-Cons or award shows or something and she’s always pretty sweet and we always like got along fine. I didn’t really know her know her like I do now, but ever since that first scene in the Side Step where Walker and Liam show up, there seemed to be a depth between Cordi and Geri, like they knew each other’s skeletons, they knew each other’s demons, and they knew how to call each other on their bulls**t. Mostly her calling me on my bulls**t. [Laughs]

That was something I really liked. And so to see Walker have a relationship with somebody that can go like, “Hey, I’ve known you for decades and decades, something is going on. What’s going on? You’re not gonna run past this.” Because Walker can always pull the law-enforcement card and say, “Oh, I’m just worried about this or that…no, I just got something on my mind,” and she is able to go, “Nope…there’s something else going on.” And so I love that dynamic.

Have you talked about casting The Jackal?

We have. Who, who are you thinking?

Well, obviously Jim Beaver would be hilarious.

Oh my God, that would be hilarious.

Or you go get Scott Patterson

Oh God, that would be great, right?! And I’m gonna see him soon. Again, I like your thinking! I like the cut of your jib. [Laughs] I like those few ideas, so when the writers are allowed to have conversations legally, I’ll have that conversation with them!

Walker, Season 4, TBA, The CW